With the hour exams both present and imminent, it behooves us to inquire into what special significance, if any, they hold for men in College this year, especially for those enrolled in the S. A. T. C. and Naval Unit.
In years past, hour examinations have been received by the student body with varying degrees of toleration,--from those who regarded them as a "necessary evil" to those who contrived to see in them an opportunity to prove their fitness in a new kind of work. As a consequence of this heterogeneous attitude, the grades heretofore sent to the Office in November and April have been notoriously unreliable as evidence of the ability of the average student to apply himself to the tasks set before him. This year, however, the case is entirely different; the slogan of "business as usual" will prove as disastrous if applied to College studies as when used in respect to war-time activity in the commercial world.
More than one company commander has told his men that no matter what their view of life in general might be, the work in which they without exception are now engaged is a serious business. It is serious for two very good reasons: first, because the manner in which it is done will determine very largely how soon the peace of the world shall be restored and founded on a durable basis; secondly, because it will mean for every man in service the unmixed happiness or lasting discontent of his later years whether or not he is conscious of having done his utmost to serve his country in a time of crisis. But we must remember that efficient service in any field can be rendered only after a period, oftentimes reaching into years, of laborious and intensive preparation. For many of us that period is now becoming a matter of weeks; it concerns us all the more, therefore, to take care that all of the work which we do shall be our best and nothing else. The spectacular deeds of the battlefield are indeed an inspiration to equal achievement on our part, but it is also true that but few ever blundered into heroism. To most men it comes as a result of the ability to think quickly and act intelligently. Our work in the S. A. T. C. and the Naval Unit is for the most part training toward that end; the coming hour exams are in the nature of an attempt to discover what ability each man has developed along these lines.
The fallen heroes of five nations have entrusted to our hands the torch of battle and look to us to carry it on to victory. That we may not fail in this great mission, let us resolve to do all that is in our power, whether the task be great or small, to train ourselves for the work ahead. The man who will most surely succeed in the army or navy and who will most efficiently discharge his obligation to his fellowmen will be one who neglects not small things in preparation for things that are great; who trains himself to respect and to obey without question his superior officers; who carries with him into all fields of his work the thought that he is working and fighting for the lasting triumph of the ideals of liberty, justice, and humanity; who finally, is willing, should the need arise, to lay down his life without protest for all that he holds dear and sacred in this world;--
"This is the happy Warrior; this is he Whom every man in arms should wish to be."